Machete

 

Machete

Written by Robert & Alvaro Rodriguez

Directed by Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis

2010


Cast:

Dany Trejo

Jeff Fahey

Jessica Alba

Robert De Niro

Michelle Rodriguez

Steven Seagal

Don Johnson


Production:

Theatrical: Troublemaker Studios, Overnight Films

Video: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


MPAAC Rating: R


Video:

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Disc Size: 41.18 Mbps

Feature Size: 35.23 Mbps

Bit Rate: 35.60

Runtime: 105 minutes

Chapters: 28

Region: A


Audio:

English DTS-HD MA 5.1

English Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 5.1


Subtitles:

English SDH, English, French & Spanish


Extras:

• Optional Audience Reaction Track

• 11 Deleted Scenes (11 min.)

• 2 Theatrical Trailers - in HD

• 3 Sneak Previews

• BD-LIVE

• Disc 2: Digital Copy


Presentation:

Amaray Blu-ray case w/ slipcover

Release Date: January 4, 2011



Product Description:

Perhaps you remember the trailer for Machete that was part of the 2007 “Grindhouse” double feature.  At the time the trailer was faux; there was no movie, but audiences couldn’t wait for the “movie” and Robert Rodriguez was eager to give them what they wanted.  


Set up, double-crossed and left for dead, Machete (Danny Trejo) is an ass-kicking ex-Federale who lays waste to anything that gets in his path. As he takes on hitmen, vigilantes and a ruthless drug cartel, bullets fly, blades clash and the body count rises. Any way you slice it, vengeance has a new name--Machete.


     


Comment:

The Movie : 5

Robert Rodriguez has become to the Grindhouse art form what George Romero has been to the zombie movie.  Starting with El Mariachi, Desperado, and From Dusk Till Dawn (1992, 95 & 96) Rodriguez is the genre’s most ardent admirer and its most hysterical and at times its most artful progenitor.  He took an interesting detour with the three Spy Kids movies (2001, 02 & 03) before returning to business with the overwrought Once Upon a Time in Mexico.  Sin City (2005) is a study of understatement and violent restraint alternating with comic book splatter, an instant classic, if such is possible.  Planet Terror (2007) went the opposite direction: a nightmare of pointless violence and mayhem - narrative considerations are neatly left in the trunk.


     


Machete takes the handsome antihero of El Mariachi and Desperado and makes him about as ugly as possible.  Danny Trejo, with a face that resembles a relief map of Peru, is to Carlos Gallardo and Antonio Banderas as Bogart’s Dobbs is to Shirley Temple.  Trejo may be the sweetest guy in films (and one of the busiest), but to look at him, you can easily imagine him having spent a hundred years in solitary for drug distribution, murder and rape.  It’s a brilliant piece of casting.  But the coup de grace is to put that man with that face and body fondling with one hand some of the world’s most desirable women, while holding ready an arsenal of weapons that could annihilate a small army in the other.  Make him a weapon for righteous vengeance and you’ve got yourself a movie, or perhaps, an anti-movie.


     


I think we can easily dismiss charges that Rodriguez’s movie is anti-American, caricaturing, as it does, those persons and themes that have unfavorable views on immigration, particularly from south of the border.  It is simply that the movie is too silly, too clumsy to be taken seriously - this despite Rodriguez’ points that migrant workers are necessary for America’s economy and that Latinos are more or less invisible to the average gringo.  But “Machete” isn’t about immigration, it’s focus is on illegal immigration.  Rodriguez takes as a given that countries ought not have borders, a concept I feel is worthy of serious discussion, and turns it into an excuse for violent revolution, thus putting an end to any discussion.


     


Even as I write this, I think I do Rodriguez an injustice, because the movie he has produced doesn’t rise to the level of argument, it is little more than an excuse for orchestrated mayhem, babes and brutes.  Its politics, such as there may be, are drowned in fiery explosions, beheadings and even a crucifixion.  The dialogue is juvenile, the acting heartless, the narrative holey, and Trejo himself moves as if constipated. 


“Machete” is not without its compensations.  Jessica Alba has rarely looked more beautiful nor as much younger than her actual age (29).  Michelle Rodriguez, known for her tough chick roles, shows off one of the most surprising smiles of any woman in the business.  Steven Seagal, as a Latino drug lord, and Don Johnson (yes, that Don Johnson, as a renegade wetback killer) are perhaps the only actors in the movie to rise above their material, whereas Lindsay Lohan cleverly gets to play herself as a spoiled addict and ends up as a - well, I won’t spoil one of the best jokes in the movie.  Jeff Fahey is suitably menacing, and De Niro is, well, you have to see him to believe him.


     


The Score Card


Image : 8/9

In keeping with Rodriguez’ Planet Terror Grindhouse effect of a scratched and scattered debris-filled film, Machete has its share, though it seems to be related primarily to the opening reel.  Unhappily, for indeed the effect is wearing on second viewing, Fox offers no alternative for watching the movie sans grind.  In other respects the high bit-rate image is satisfactory enough, with Trejo’s craggy face taking center stage as exhibit one, clearly and highly resolved in sharp relief.  Same goes for leather jackets, gleaming firepower, and trash.  Black levels are quite good, and the saturated coppertone filtration doesn’t overwhelm skin tones.  Demonstrating the extent to which the filmmakers support its grindhouse, tattered film effects of the opening segment, the transfer exhibits no transfer artifacts.


     


Audio & Music : 8/7

Raw and grindhouse-inspired as it may be, Machete has a dynamite audio track far more sophisticated than any other aspect of the film.  Sonics still retain an over-the-top comic book feel that rocks with solid crunches, whacks, slices, explosions and gunfire – You name it, Machete’s got it.  Even better, though reduced to Dolby Digital status, is the “Audience Reaction Track” which places the viewer in the middle of the audience with everything but the popcorn and beer can tossing mixed right into the track.


     


Extras : 3

Not a whole lot here.  No commentary, interviews or production featurettes.  Besides a few trailers and previews, the two main attractions are the optional audience reaction track while, while it may be canned, and it may be ham, but it’s the kind of fun that fans of the movie will want to indulge in, especially if they have company, beer and pizza.  Much the same can be said for the eleven brief deleted scenes: averaging just under a minute each, they add nothing in the way of development, but only another chance for more guffaws and grimaces from the viewers.


Recommendation : 7

Director Robert Rodriguez (Grindhouse, Sin City) delivers another action-packed, cutting-edge serving of carnage, mayhem, hot chicks, supported by an absurdly hysterical script and B-movie acting, even by A-list stars.  I’d relegate Machete to the Guilty Pleasures pile, the drunker you are, the more you’ll love it.


     


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

January 12, 2011


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